You’re a new parent, and you’d like to do all that you can to raise your little one according to God’s Word. Maybe you’ve been brought up in the church, or perhaps this whole faith thing is just as new to you as being a parent. Either way, you’re starting to see notes about our upcoming baby dedication and beginning to ask questions. Is this different than what people refer to as infant baptism or is it one and the same? Here’s our response to the age-old question, should infants be baptized or dedicated, and honestly, what’s the difference?

Let’s take a step back real quick. It’s important to remember that Christ regularly preached throughout his ministry about repentance and baptism, hand in hand. Baptism has since been a part of the Christian tradition as a tangible next step in following after Christ. While some believe baptism should be reserved for those who can themselves decide to take the step, certain traditions of the Christian faith believe anybody who has stepped up to follow after Christ should be baptized—no matter their age. Why the misunderstanding, and what does CCC believe?

Infant Baptism

Some decide to have their child baptized, and this has been an option for ages now. The interesting part is that the root of this tradition comes not from what Scripture says but from what Scripture does not say. There are a number of passages stating that entire households of people were baptized, sometimes a decision made at the discretion of the people over the house. Take a look at the following passages for evidence of this: Acts 10:22–48; 16:11–15, 25–34; 18:8; and 1 Cor 1:16. While these passages do mention households of people being baptized, one can only assume whether or not children were included in the mix. In fact, because of reasons we’ll address below, many scholars take “households” to mean the adults and servants, not children.

The hang-up on baptizing infants—and one of the reasons that CCC does baby dedication instead of infant baptism—is that we believe baptism is a matter of repentance based on one’s individual decision to have faith in Christ (Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5). “Certainly it is true that water is an evident symbol of washing and cleansing, and the waters of baptism do symbolize washing and purification from sins as well as death and resurrection with Christ.” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 969) There is a strong connection in Scripture between an individual making a decision to follow Christ and then being baptized as a symbolic declaration of what has changed internally.

Baby Dedication

Baby dedication is an opportunity for families to commit to raise their child in accordance with the Bible’s teachings in front of their church family. It is also an opportunity for the local church family to commit to praying and leading this child to Jesus. While this does not save a child from their sin, it allows both the family and church to commit to teaching the child everything they should know about Jesus. If you want to commit to raising your child in accordance with Scripture through baby dedication, visit our events calendar to find when the next baby dedication parent meeting is happening, or email [email protected].